The goal of the Resilient Schools and Communities (RiSC) program and curriculum is to increase the climate science and resilience knowledge, and critical thinking skills, of middle and high school teachers and students and empower them to build resilience in their communities. Resilience can be thought of as adapting to changing conditions in a way that increases the well-being of communities and improves the health of the natural environment.
The RiSC curriculum - which has gone through three iterations and was written and tested by teachers - enables students to understand the fundamentals of climate science and extreme weather risks. The accompanying RiSC Vulnerability Assessment, helps students to assess their schools and neighborhoods’ vulnerability to these risks. An updated version of the curriculum (2020), also written and tested by teachers, educates students about the value of Nature-Based Features as tools for coastal defense and resilience to extreme heat; it engages them in understanding how issues of equity and justice - often neglected in urban planning - impact local communities; and it provides hands-on activities that help to empower students and build community resilience. The third and most recent adaptation of the curriculum (2022) focuses on the coastal frontline community of Coney Island, Brooklyn. There is a greater emphasis on climate justice; there are field trips to engage students in hands-on solutions to sea level rise and erosion through dune restoration; and there are projects that connect local schools with community members in an effort to increase social resilience - an idea generated by students themselves.
We believe it is all of our responsibilities to prepare this generation for the challenges, opportunities and careers of the future. We must ensure that those most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis are supported with educational resources that empower them to implement climate solutions in their communities.